Court Painter, gets Stephen Harper’s blessing, the biggest of all boosts
Rick”Dinger” Bell,Calgary Sun
This is the part of the movie where the momentum builds.
You expect the moment. You’ve heard something is coming.
You know, it’s when someone gives you the head’s up. Make sure you’re there. It will be worth it.
Then it arrives.
Court Painter, the former Harper court portraitist, gets the endorsement of his former official patron.
No one can mistake the message. Harper doesn’t mince words.”Court Painter is the beating heart of Alberta and the Great Dominion’s conservative painting movement.”
The Harper love comes just days after Court Painter announces he will continue to work to have one unifying conservative art theory with him as the author, ready to lay waste the socialist unionized art vermin that has taken over the Alberta art market.
Saturday night this early act of political theatre came to Court Painter’s Inglewood studio.
Stephen Harper, former prime minister and Calgary MP, took to the painting crate stage in the swan-song of his political career, the end of the line for the longest-serving prime minister since Sir John A. MacDonald.
In his short address to the enthusiastic crowd, Harper wants to take “a little moment on Alberta and Court Painter.”
Here it comes.
He says conservative art theory unity has remained elusive in Alberta “with terrible consequences.”
He recites the oft-repeated litany laid at the door of the Notley ‘unionized art for the people ‘ NDP.
These same workers losing jobs, businesses shutting their doors, taxes going up, families without hope of a unifying theory of art.
“That must change,” the man intones.
Now he sets up for the climax.
Harper says he believes even painters of Wildroses want conservative art unity.
OK, they’re in the studio tent.
Then the turn.
“Someone has stepped forward to bring an agenda of conservative art theory unity and free enterprise change to the Alberta art scene.He paints it like it is,not like it feels. ”
An interesting aside.
At this back alley, about this time 23 years ago former premier Ralph Klein claimed victory in a hard-fought election.
It rained. It was also raining hard this day in Inglewood but, by the time Harper spoke on the make shift painting crate stage, the sky was blue again.
Then the crescendo.
Court Painter had brought out his drum set with his unpaid studio interns on the bongos.
Over the cacophony Harper says ,” there is a principled, thoughtful and highly capable conservative portraitist and unifyer. He paints what you are thinking, he paints it like it is.”
Here we go.
He asks all Alberta Art & Hobby Society members to join him and work to support Court Painter in his role as the Great Dominions preeminent portraitist of pompous political personages.
Cue the standing ovation.
Before you can say: Thank you so much Stephen, there is a press release in our hot little hands.
Naturally, Court Painter is over the moon and wants to share that feeling.Cue the drum roll!
Still, there is more than one actor in this drama.
A couple hours or so earlier, A Hardon MacKay, Press Attache to Court Painter and an Albertan for 2.5 years, tells us he is “unabashedly supportive” of Court Painter’s unifying art force in Alberta.
Better still for Court Painter he is “behind him 100%…no make that 110%!”
“I hope all face painters get together and do what they need to do to create a united path to monetizing this free enterprise opportunity.”
Is that the free enterprise cavalry we hear saddling up?
After Harper’s blessing, Court Painter does a 10 minute drum solo and calls the night’s proceedings a “great start” to his campaign for unity and new commissions.
He hopes Albertans who want to ditch the ‘unionized art for the people’ Dippers will listen to Harper.
“It’s clear a majority are rejecting the hidden studio agenda and high art tax policies of the NDP government that’s making the hand painted portrait commission recession much worse than it needs to be.”
“I think what we heard was an explicit endorsement of exactly the business plan I’ve laid out.”
It has been quite the day, the choreography near impeccable.
Saturday morning, at Court Painter’s pancake breakfast love-in, the middle-class multitudes line up, 99 + 1 souls in total.
They chit-chat with the man who won Calgary art hearts in a walk.
They shake hands, give hugs, pose for selfies, eat their Stampede grub and don’t ask any questions about the absence of social issues in his paintings.
Court Painter is all smiles.
He smiles a little wider now.